Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins

Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are engorged and twisted veins that commonly cause symptoms of pain, but in some cases are only concern for their appearance on the legs.  The symptoms of varicose veins can vary from mild to severe and include muscle cramps, throbbing, heaviness in the legs, and swelling. Symptoms worsen through the day, particularly with sitting and standing in the same position and heat.  


Some common ways to treat varicose veins at home is by use of compression stockings, elevation, proper shoe wear, a cold shower, and stretching or changing positions. Often times, these treatment options fail. 


All About Endovascular Laser Therapy

A specialized type of procedure can be performed called endovascular laser therapy, which is commonly abbreviated as EVLT.  This type of therapy uses radiation in the form of light into the vein, which causes the vein to scar. As the vein scars, it seals off and blood is unable to flow through this vein again, preventing further symptoms from the vein. Blood will be moved out of the legs by other veins.

To book an appointment with Dr. Mackay or ask a question, call 1-727-261-0047 or fill out an appointment request form.

How the Laser Treatment Works

Endovascular laser therapy is a procedure that takes place in the clinic and is usually not longer than one hour.  The procedure only uses local anesthetics to numb a specific area on the leg, where the incision will be made into the vein.  An ultrasound machine is used to locate the vein and is used through the entire procedure.


Once the appropriate area is located, a cut is made into the skin and vein and a specialized piece of equipment, called a catheter, is advanced through the vein, which allows for the placement of the laser.  The catheter is then removed and the laser is slowly moved through the vein, causing scarring. As the laser is removed, a bandage is placed over the incision and the procedure is complete. 


How Many Treatments are Needed?

Most commonly, a single laser treatment is all that is necessary for the treatment of varicose veins. It can help to shrink the veins on the legs, but for those that are concerned with the cosmetic appearance, there will likely need to be further treatments or procedures to address the appearance on the legs.   


Risks with Laser Treatment

The laser therapy can Endovascular laser therapy does not come without risks, which commonly are bleeding, infection, color change on the skin, swelling of the vein, and blood clots.  Based on your medical history and current medications, there may be further risks associated with this therapy.


Post-Surgical care for the procedure is as follows:

  • Bruising usually occurs on the legs and this is normal.  As with other bruises, they should disappear within about two weeks.
  • Walking is a mainstay for treatment and should even be performed as soon as possible after EVLT for at least 30 minutes. Walking should be done at least three times daily for at least 10 minutes the first two weeks after EVLT.
  • Compression stockings should be worn to prevent swelling.
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    Application of ice may help swelling and should be done for the first several days to one week after the procedure. Be sure not to leave ice in place longer than 15 minutes.
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    Elevation while in bed, or sitting should be performed to help with swelling.
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    Avoid standing or sitting for long periods. Stretch, walk, and elevate the legs.
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    Avoid hot tubs, hot pools and hot baths, as this can dilate the blood vessels.

Is Laser Treatment Right for You? Find out.

The swelling, heaviness, and throbbing of the legs from varicose veins can be problematic and may no respond to conservative treatments, such as elevation, stretching, compression stockings.  In this case, endovascular laser therapy may be an option to relieve the pain from varicose veins. Contact the office of Dr. Edward Mackay, a board certified vascular surgeon providing services to patients in the Tampa area.

To book an appointment with Dr. Mackay or ask a question, call 1-727-261-0047 or fill out an appointment request form.